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"Diving In" to November 2021 with the Coral Chronicles


In Coral Chronicles, often we spend most of the time talking about what specifically happened in the last month. This time, we wanted to zoom out and reiterate why we care so much about what we do and why our Dive Programs matter.

Divers patiently await instructions from our Coral Crew as they prepare to assist in our coral nursery during a Dive Program. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

To start off, a Dive Program is a one-day educational experience that we offer at Coral Restoration Foundation™ that pairs a morning of on-land training and teaching with hands-on work in our offshore coral nurseries and on the reef. They are an amazing way to connect deeply with the knowledge you learn and put your new skills to work.

Diver's learn to care for Coral Trees™ by scrubbing algae and other biofoul off their branches. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

One of our mission programs is education because we understand that the strongest conservation projects are supported by communities understanding why it matters. Programs like this are shining examples of how hands-on, experiential learning can have a massive impact. We have worked with students from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Ransom Everglades, and the Community School of Naples as well as designing programs for the Scouts at SeaBase and even working on patches with the Girl Scouts. Getting in the water and seeing the tangible effect that you can have on an ecosystem like a reef is an experience like none other.

Divers learn to hang corals in trees using monofilament lines. ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

To sign up and join us beneath the waves, go on our website at and click on “Dive Programs” under “Get Involved,” or click this link. We would love to show you hands-on our restoration techniques and show you the difference that you can make.



Coral Restoration Foundation™ is overjoyed to welcome a new member of our team: Emma Thomson! Taking over as our Volunteer Coordinator she is the newest addition to our Education Program.

Originally from a small town in Connecticut, she got an environmental science degree from the University of Richmond in Virginia and quickly moved to south Florida. Neither CT nor VA were close enough to the ocean for her liking. She got her SCUBA diving certification around this time as she was working at the Loggerhead MarineLife Center in Juno Beach. Through this, she learned about the internship CRF™ offers and became the first ever intern to stay for four rounds between 2016 and 2017 where she was just one of three interns!

Since then, she’s been hooked. In the last few years, she has done everything from field instructing with MarineLab Environmental Education Center, monitoring roseate spoonbills with the National Audubon Society, and being a snorkel, dive, and glass-bottom guide. Now that she’s found her way back to CRF, she is most excited at the opportunity to combine her love of science, coral reefs, and education to teach and train CRF’s interns and volunteers just like it was done for her.

Please give a warm welcome to Emma! We are so excited to see where you take this position as CRF™ continues to grow.



Saving coral reefs requires action on a massive scale.

One of our most exciting expansions this year came in the growth of our Key West Coral Tree™ nursery.

We are partners in NOAA’s Mission: Iconic Reefs which sets a goal to return 60,000 corals to Eastern Dry Rocks reef in three years! Our Key West Nursery is in the process of upgrading from a stock nursery—one where we keep corals for genetic diversity—to a production nursery—home to over 150 Coral Trees™ capable of producing thousands of corals to return to the wild!

Restoration Associate Shane Gallimore installs a new Coral Tree™ to a CRF™ coral nursery. ©Madalen Howard/Coral Restoration Foundation™

Our Restoration Associate Bailey Thomasson says, “I’m so excited to spend more time down in Key West working on the reefs down there. We're going to need help to triple the nursery in size, but we’re ready. CRF™ has grown so much in the last few years, and this is another big step forward.” 

This year all donations made on November 30th will be matched up to $20,000, doubling your impact on our mission. We hope you’ll help us continue to grow and donate on #GivingTuesday2021


"Diving In" Editorial Intern

Tessa Markham (they/them) is a recent graduate of Skidmore College, with a BA in English and Environmental Studies. They grew up in Wilton, in southwestern Connecticut, but spent their summers either hiking and camping in the woods or swimming and sailing on the water. They have always been passionate about climate change and conservation. Diving for the first time in 2014 while taking a marine conservation course in the Caribbean leeward islands, they quickly amassed dives and got their PADI Instructor certification just three years

later. Just after completing their instructor training, they spent nearly a month on the Yucatan Peninsula conducting research on their reefs, looking at the ratio of soft versus stony coral death. They later channeled their distress at the degradation of the reefs to write a short story about coral bleaching, which was published in Volume 5 of the Oakland Arts Review in 2020. Their capstone thesis built on this theme and they wrote a collection of four creative short stories that detail and exemplify climate change-induced environmental damage through a narrative lens. They aim to combine their degrees and experiences to make a career in science communications, making research and conservation accessible to everybody.



Madalen Howard (she/her) is CRF's Marketing Associate. Madalen comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, and communications.

Madalen spent the last 4 years as a Field Instructor and Social Media Strategist for MarineLab Environmental Education Center. Here she was able to study and teach marine ecology, while snorkeling through mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs every day. While at MarineLab she combined her education and research background, entered the world of communications, and developed MarineLab’s social media department from the ground up.

Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature. With CRF™, she is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration, creating inclusive pathways to scientific discovery.

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